April 21, 1998 Robert Hass to Present Student "River of Words" Poetry and Art Awards

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

On May 2, the Center for the Book, in cooperation with the International Rivers Network, will host the 1998 student winners of the "River of Words" national environmental poetry and art contest for young people. At 3 p.m. in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, project co-founder and former U.S. Poet Laureate (1995-1997) Robert Hass will present the awards to the eight national winners and the one international winner. He also will moderate a program that will include poetry readings by the winning students. The winning works of art also will be on display. The event is free and open to the public.

Thousands of schoolchildren from seven countries and nearly every U.S. state participated in the contest, which seeks to help children discover their "ecological address" by exploring and interpreting their local watersheds or natural landscapes. "Our goal is to help children become keen observers of the place where they live to help them develop a sense of belonging and kinship--in order to become informed and active citizens as they grow up," said project director and co-founder Pamela Michael of the International Rivers Network.

Announcing the winners at an April 19 program at the San Francisco Public Library, Robert Hass said, "I think it's important to have kids understand that part of their education is an informed knowledge of the place where they live. We're going to need a sense of hope and power if we're going to take care of this land in the next century." Mr. Hass chose the winning poems; artwork was judged by Germaine Juneau, Director of the International Children's Art Museum in San Francisco.

The National Poetry Grand Prize winners are: Noah Frank (grade 2), San Francisco; Tyler Sellers (grade 3), Vicksburg, Miss.; Todd Detter (grade 9), Phoenix; and Rebecca Givens (grade 11), Atlanta. The National Art Contest winners are: Alex Schneble (grade 2), Issaquah, Wash.; Holly Heuer (grade 5), Los Olivos, Calif.; Jennifer Brisson (grade 8), Clarkton, N.C.; and Kristina Fisher (grade 12), Santa Fe, N.M. The 1998 International Grand Prize winner is Jeff Hwang (grade 8), Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The Center for the Book sponsors the "River of Words" project in support of its mission of stimulating public interest in books, reading, and the printed word. For information about the center visit its Web site at: https://www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/.


PR 98-065
ISSN 0731-3527